Seven Reasons Why the IDF is Considered a Tolerant Military

1. At military swearing-in ceremonies, soldiers may pledge an oath on either the Tanakh, Bible or Koran.

swearing-in military ceremony

Soldiers salute at a swearing-in military ceremony. Photo: IDF Spokesperson Unit.

2. Since 1948, women have served side-by-side male soldiers in the IDF. The Equality Amendment to the Military Service Law states that “the right of women to serve in any role in the IDF is equal to the right of men.” Each year, 1,500 female combat soldiers are drafted into the IDF and 88 percent of all positions are open to women.

3. Israel is one of 24 countries that allow gay individuals to openly serve in the military. Sexual orientation does not stand as a barrier to receiving promotions or joining elite units. Israelis show a “great tolerance” for gay soldiers.

4. In 2001, the Women’s Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Staff was created in an effort to empower women and maximize the capabilities and opportunities of women serving in the IDF.

5. While there is a compulsory military draft for Israelis, hundreds of Jews from around the world volunteer to serve the state of Israel every year.

6. Additional vacation time is allotted to soldiers of all faiths and religious practices. For example, Bedouin and Druze soldiers are granted time off from the army to celebrate the religious holiday of Eid al-Adha with friends and family.

Soldier serving in the IDF's Bedouin Desert Reconnaissance Battalion

Soldier serving in the IDF

7. In 2011, the IDF proudly welcomed its first-ever female major general, Orna Barbivai, who was promoted as commander of the Manpower Directorate. She holds the IDF’s second-highest rank, reporting directly to Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, IDF chief of staff.

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